It’s official. We’ve taken over the world.
My first week of work in France involved a lot of team-building. The office in Nantes is the result of a corporate acquisition over two years ago. I know a few people in this team already, but it can’t hurt to meet everyone else and get more training.
My trip coincides with senior management meetings and a “great place to work” event. In this case, it involves shooting each other … virtually. Yes, the US managed to export laser tag to Europe. It’s yet another reminder that Americans make great targets when they travel abroad. Also, running around for an hour with a vest strapped over your shirt makes you a little less presentable for dinner at a two-fork Michelin rated restaurant.
Personal note: read full dinner itinerary before departure, pack accordingly.
Not a lot of team-building happens during training. Lots of team-building happens over lunch. Especially when we head to lunch.
The French team learned of my involvement with Dragon Con during my last trip to San Francisco, especially after our walk through the LucasFilm offices. So one lunch starts with the “do you like Star Trek or Star Wars” question (not a simple answer). Then we’re off into Batman, Gravity, ridiculous sounds in space and the physics of Babylon 5. We agree that the beeps and clicks 1960’s computers would have driven us crazy (how do you get any sleep on that space station?). One co-worker hasn’t seen Pacific Rim because he’s still irritated Guillermo del Toro hasn’t made At the Mountains of Madness.
Then I had to apologize for the export of US movies and television. For every dubbed version of Batman Begins you see on a French hotel TV, there’s an equal amount of Universal Soldier sequels, Gremlins 2 and Wesley Snipes movies we dare not show in America.
Personal note: Never get in serious trouble with the IRS, otherwise you’ll have to work on embarrassing made-for-cable movie projects.
Nantes is a city with some serious sci-fi heritage. It’s home to the Jules Verne Museum, Les Utopiales (The Nantes International Science Fiction Festival, which I missed by a day) and Les Machines de l’île (Machines of the Isle of Nantes, which looks like a steampunk fever dream). It’s also home to several universities, tech company offices and a pretty kick-ass comic shop. So it’s no surprise to find an offshoot of the nerd tribe in our office. I’m happy the same science fiction that brought me to the tech industry has life around the world.
But most of all, I’m glad we all agree that Starship Troopers 3: Marauder is a terrible movie … and kinda scary when dubbed in German.
Personal note: don’t watch European TV in my hotel after midnight.